The last month has been hard. One month ago yesterday we buried my mom. I've since led another family to their own mother's graveside.

What's come to mind often in this month is how particular God's gifts are to us. At both the funerals, stories were shared about the women whose lives we were honoring. Stories that were unique. Stories that were particular. Stories that demonstrated who these women were and how God had channeled God's blessing and goodness in beautiful ways through them.

A story I love about my mom (among many) is that after helping to start Little League for girls in our area and after coaching the team that won first place, she was not invited to coach the all-star team, as is the Little League custom. They invited a male coach instead. My mom wouldn't have it. She appealed to the local Little League board, won her case, and subsequently led the all-star team to a regional and state win.

The other dear mother we honored was remembered, among other things, for rising early and baking every day. Every Friday for 39 years she delivered batches of cookies to the hospital and floor where her daughter worked as a nurse. Her baking blessed doctors, nurses, and other caregivers for nearly four decades.

I've heard some folks express their wish that they not be "eulogized" at their funeral. Often it's because they want the focus to be on God and not on them. I think they're misguided. God loves particularity. God shares God's goodness with us in ways and in people who are uniquely and wonderfully made. When we name and celebrate these particularities we honor their lives and give glory and thanks to God.

As we anticipate the coming of Christ - we'll celebrate how God comes to us in a particular way. In a particular human - with fingernails, eyelashes, and an appendix. Who nursed, and soaked diapers, and yes, cried. God in the particularity of Jesus demonstrates God's particular kind of unstoppable love for us - a love that tears open the sky and takes the risk of birth.

Deep peace to you,


The Risk of Birth

This is no time for a child to be born,
With the earth betrayed by war & hate
And a comet slashing the sky to warn
That time runs out & the sun burns late.

That was no time for a child to be born,
In a land in the crushing grip of Rome;
Honor & truth were trampled to scorn—
Yet here did the Savior make His home.

When is the time for love to be born?
The inn is full on the planet earth,
And by a comet the sky is torn—
Yet Love still takes the risk of birth.